Check out this round side table makeover! It’s a great table before and after featuring a wooden side table we saved from the dumpster!
Sean found this side table next to the dumpster in his apartment complex years ago.
It has been since sitting on his screened porch collecting dust and getting, if possible, even ickier.
As you can see, the table is wood, but has layers of thin wood (fake wood?) on each surface that are really gross and peely. And yes, it has been sitting, just like this, for actual years.
The wood veneer has completely peeled off in areas, but the inner wood – and the lines of the piece – are actually pretty good.
I finally had enough and insisted that we get a move on it. So, we buckled down and (during commercial breaks on the Panthers game for Sean) to give this table a complete makeover.
Round side table makeover
Here’s what we did to upcycle this old, water damaged wooden table.
- Sanding block
- Wood stain + brush to apply
Steps to repair + refinish this wooden table
STEP 1: Remove damaged veneer
The first step was to remove all of the peeling and damaged super thin wood coating.
This took a lot longer than expected. Sean had to use this metal scraper to get some of the tough bits.
However, when we finally got it off, it automatically looked 1,000 times better.
Look how much crap we pulled off! WOW!
STEP 2: Repair gaps in the wood
Then we noticed that the top of the table was kind of warped. Maybe from sitting
in next to a dumpster for an indeterminate period of time. Or maybe its just warped out of protest of being ignored on the porch for so long.
Have no fear, Sean filled the gaps with wood glue (we used Gorilla Glue Wood Glue) and used clamps to squeeze it back together.
After around an hour, it was dry enough to remove the clamps and proceed.
For small gaps, you could use wood filler. Just let it dry completely and then sand it smooth. Here’s our complete guide on how to use wood filler!
STEP 3: Sand
Its a plastic thing that you slip a piece of sandpaper in (we cut a bit off of a larger piece of sandpaper) and makes it so much easier to hold and use!
If you have an orbital sander, use that. Sanding by hand takes longer, but is a great alternative if you don’t have access to an electric sander!
STEP 4: Clean
After you sand it really well, your table will be dusty.
Use a damp cloth to wipe off the dust and see if it needs any touch ups.
STEP 5: Stain
Next came the fun part! We painted on Rustoleum ultimate wood stain in dark walnut using a foam brush.
It’s best to apply wood stain in the direction of the wood grain, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then wipe off any excess.
Repeat this process for a second coat if you want a darker final color.
I stretched a rubber band around the can so I could scrape any excess stain off of the brush.
Cici wanted to come help so badly! Too bad puppies don’t have thumbs or we would have let her!
It turned out so yummy! I love this darker color, I just think dark wood looks so much richer and more expensive than light wood.
We let it dry over night. Meanwhile, we both had stain all over our hands.
It won’t come off at all with soap, so we thought we’d share this little trick- rub vegetable oil all over the stained area, then rinse with warm water. It magically all comes off!
STEP 6: Seal
Finally, we sealed the table. It took 3 thin coats of Polycrylic Protective Finish Clear Satin sealant with light sandings in between.
This was tedious, but we wanted to make sure it would withstand cups without coasters and wet rag wipe downs in case it (inevitably) gets pollen-y in the spring.
Now here’s a reminder of how it first looked:
And here it is now:
So much better! We are beyond thrilled with it. Sean is kicking himself for not doing this two years ago!
We originally made over this table in 2012 (yes, hello, that is youthful Morgan in those pictures up there!) Here it is in 2023 on our covered patio! Still going strong!
One of my most treasured furniture before and afters, because it was the first piece we ever made over together 🙂
P.S. – Look under our Cozumel memory jar for a sneek peek of our latest craft coming at you soon!